My first ever tailored ethnic wear was a salwar suit. I vividly remember the soft sorbet colours and the airy light feel of the fabric. The first words out of the tailor’s mouth, when it was my turn to give measurements were “kaisi fitting chahiye?” - this struck me as odd. What the hell kind of a question is that - and coming from a tailor too! I replied with a sassy “hamari fitting ka chahiye”, to which of course he swung around his neck like a bobblehead, as if to say “nadaan ladki”.
Needless to say, to this day I hate the way the final piece looked on me. So much so that I had convinced myself that salwar suits are not meant for me - jeans, shorts and anything readymade honestly is what my body is made for.
Soon it was time to get my first saree blouse stitched (ugh!). I had the same enthusiasm as a prisoner on death row but unless I wanted to go sans blouse and give my entire family a coronary, there was no other choice. Since, this was years later, our local tailor had changed and maybe because I had zero hopes from the stitched garment, it felt like a decent fit.
With every visit to the tailors’ and endless surfing of his designer books and my growing frustration (not to mention a faint sensation of nausea) at what can only be called “desi aunty designs”, I once decided to sketch a basic version of what I wanted and handed it over.
Call it luck, but this tailor was more attuned to my aesthetic senses and lo and behold, he conjured a beautifully stitched blouse for my saree - “my precious ”. That 1 piece of garment gave me self validation of “arre! Ye to ho sakta hai”. From then on, the tailor’s catalogue ate dust while my hands flew down sketches. One day my tailor even confessed - “aapki design ka blouse display mein daal deta hoon. Bahut ladies request karti hain ki ye hi banao bhaiyya!”
Now, I hand over my design to him with additional words of wisdom - “aap darna nahin. Jaisa draw kiya hai waisa hi bana do”. I think my words have given him courage and we have ended up creating quite gorgeous, sexy and some even scandalously delicious blouses. Now though the ladies request for same design as mine, and tell him not to be scared as they will definitely buy it as it is - they do come back after a trial with “ye bahut daring ho gaya, kuch ho sakta hai to kar do”.
My 2 cents from all this?